Tag Archives: bowling

Ravens and Broncos Kick Off Season and I am Bowled Away

Last Night the Baltimore Ravens and the Denver Broncos played the first it really counts game of the NFL season in the shadow of the Rockies.

The game was originally going to be in the home stadium of the Super Bowl winning Ravens but, as they share a few parking lots with the also playing at home Baltimore Orioles, it was determined that having the game in Colorado would be best to avoid hoards of roaming Orioles and Ravens fans battling for the same parking real estate.

Having been born in Maryland the Ravens are a team that I follow very closely so the idea of seeing them play the first game of the NFL season as they begin their quest to repeat as Super Bowl Champions had me rather excited.

Now, it should be noted that while I have been a fan of the Baltimore Ravens for as long as there have been Baltimore Ravens, I am also a fan of the Denver Broncos.

While I follow both the Baltimore Ravens and the Denver Broncos whenever they play each other I cheer for the Ravens. Photo R. Anderson

While I follow both the Baltimore Ravens and the Denver Broncos whenever they play each other I cheer for the Ravens.
Photo R. Anderson

While it is easy to understand my fandom for most of the NFL teams that I follow based on having lived in the areas near the teams (Washington Redskins, Baltimore Ravens, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Jacksonville Jaguars) it is a mystery as to why I first started following the Broncos.

Even though I have never lived in Colorado I have followed the Broncos since the late 80’s. Granted I visit Colorado now and then but when racking my brain I couldn’t think of an ah ha moment where it all clicked and suddenly the Broncos were in my NFL stable.

It should also be noted that even though I live near Houston, the NFL team that plays at the big stadium with the retractable roof named the Texans is not, and most likely never will, be in my stable of teams.

This fact has led to many debates through the years among family and friends and usually ends with the person saying, “but you follow the Houston Astros, why not follow the Texans as well?”

My response is usually along the lines of saying that at the time I moved to Texas there was an opening on my roster for a National League team and the Astros filled that void. There are not currently any opening on the NFL roster of teams that I follow but there are several teams that would take that slot ahead of the Texans.

It is not that I wish the Texans any ill will I just choose not to support them or really pay attention to what they are doing on the field.

So, on paper the opportunity to see the Ravens and the Broncos play should have been a joyous occasion albeit a torn allegiance one as a rooted for the Ravens to win and the Broncos to stay injury free. (For the record in head to head competition among the Ravens and other teams in my stable only the Redskins trump the Ravens in terms of who I am rooting for).

Unfortunately all of the promise of sitting on my couch stuffing my face with imported European cheeses and crackers were dashed by a prior commitment called the first night of the bowling season.

Assorted cheeses from Europe and Sushi may not be the all-American way to welcome a new NFL season but they do make a tasty snack. Photo R. Anderson

Assorted cheeses from Europe and Sushi may not be the all-American way to welcome a new NFL season but they do make a tasty snack.
Photo R. Anderson

While it could be argued that starting a bowling league in Texas on the same night as the start of the NFL season is downright ludicrous, the fact remains that is exactly what occurred. Of course if the Texans had been playing on the opening night of the NFL season I am sure that the opening day of the season would have been pushed back a week.

So, much of yesterday afternoon was spent in agony as I toyed with the idea of whether I could skip the first night of bowling in favor of my date with that cheese tray.

On one shoulder I had a tiny version of me in a Ravens shirt urging me to watch the game. On the other shoulder was a tiny version of me wearing bowling shoes telling me that my team needed me and that skipping opening night was not being a very good teammate.

In the end the tiny version of me wearing the bowling shoes won out but I did make a compromise with the other tiny version of me and decided that I would wear my Ravens shirt to bowling while praying that I could at least catch the second half of the game.

Then a funny thing happened on the way to the bowling alley. One of my teammates called and said that they would not be able to attend due to an injury and asked me if I would help them post bowl at a later date.

Of course, being the good teammate that I am, and not wanting them to be alone during the post bowling time, I agreed to make the sacrifice of skipping opening night of bowling to be there with them in their hour of need.

It was just a happy coincidence that my “sacrifice” allowed me to once again break out the imported aged European cheese and artisan bread while watching the game.

So, I was able to make peace with the two miniature shoulder dwelling versions of me and found a solution that was win/win. In the words of Hannibal Smith from the A-Team, “I love it when a plan comes together.”

Now if you’ll excuse me, I still have some leftover cheese to make disappear from last night.

Copyright 2013 R. Anderson

Whoever Knew There Were so Many Guys Named Gus?

For much of the past five years or so Thursday nights have been bowling night for me.

I have tried other sports through the years and despite the lasting sting of being cut from my high school bowling team as a freshmen bowling seems to be the one that stuck and was also the one I went back to after each of my stints attempting other sports.

The epic struggle of man and woman versus pins takes place daily at bowling alleys across the world. Photo R. Anderson

The epic struggle of man and woman versus pins takes place daily at bowling alleys across the world.
Photo R. Anderson

My first foray into team sports was a couple of seasons on the Gaithersburg, MD Recreation League soccer circuit. I enjoyed the strategy of the game and the cat and mouse dynamic between the goalie and the strikers trying to score.

Okay, to be honest I was like 4 or 5 when I played soccer and I basically just remember the half time orange wedges.

I also remember that in two years of playing the only time my team scored a victory was on Father’s Day when the other team forfeited.  Over three decades later that forfeit still reigns as my crowning achievement on the pitch.

Several years of playing Tee Ball, Pony baseball and Little League taught me two things. The first thing was how to order a suicide at the concession stand with a mouth full of Bubbalicious.  For those unfamiliar with a “suicide” it is basically all of the sodas at the concession stand mixed into a single cup. Depending on who is making them they can be either really tasty or really nasty.

The second thing that I learned from playing baseball was that I was a much better fan of the sport than an athlete. Don’t get me wrong I could get on base with the best of them but the lack of batters who could reach my position deep in the outfield led me to have a wandering mind and bouts of boredom out in the well maintained grass of left field.

My next jump into organized sports was a season in high school on the YMCA basketball league circuit.  My team finished in second place in the standings that season and was the closet I ever game to hoisting a champion’s trophy up to that point.

While my competitive basketball career only lasted a single season, I had a basketball goal in my parent’s driveway and was quite the street baller. I could also play a mean game of horse and was money from “downtown.”

I also enjoyed playing tennis and was quite good at it but as the summer heat wore on and my body grew wider it became clear that a life out in the sun playing a sport that could go on without end under the right circumstances was not for me.

I last put the rackets down in my senior year of college after other things competed for my attention. I do still miss playing tennis and hope to pick up my racket again at some point.

A few years back I even played a couple of seasons of kickball. Yes boys and girls adults have turned the recess classic kickball into a high stakes winner take all ultra-competitive battle royal.  After my second season of playing I realized that people were taking it far too seriously and I got tired of always popping up to the third baseman so my kickball career came to a close.

As is the case with many former athletes, I moved from the field of play to the press box and made quite the career covering sports that I had played as well as those that I had never played. I was even very good at working in sports information and feeding stats, and on game nights pizza, to the various reporters covering the colleges where I worked.

So a lack of herculean athletic ability certainly didn’t hold me back from reaching many of my goals in the field of sports.

So this brings us back to bowling, the sport that has been there through all of the others. Even chicken pox couldn’t stop me from heading to the lane on my youth day.  I once almost choked on a hot dog during a birthday party at the bowling alley and that didn’t dampen my spirits for the sport.

Some days the pins when and some days the bowler does.  Photo R. Anderson

Some days the pins win and some days the bowler does.
Photo R. Anderson

Bowling is a game of strategy and finesse for some people.

For me bowling is a game of throwing the ball as hard and fast as I can and watching the pins go boom.

Bowling is also a sport held in air conditioned comfort where it is okay to take a break and have a burger and a Dr. Pepper during the course of play.

Just don’t try to hold the burger in one hand and the ball in the other. While I have never tried that it just seems like that would get messy.

During a feud with our regular league my team decided to try bowling at one of those family funplex type centers that includes laser tag, video games and a couple of lanes for bowling. Make no mistake about it these facilities do not tend to maintain the lanes to the same competitive standards as a regular bowling only facility would.

One thing that they do have though is a radar gun on the lane that allows people to see how fast they throw the ball down the lane.  On average my speed was around 23 miles per hour while the rest of my team topped out at 14 mph.  Try as I might I could never crack my Holy Grail goal of 25 miles per hour though.

So while bowling in a league for 5 straight years doesn’t necessarily make me an athlete it does keep me active and allows me the stress relief that comes along with hurling a ball at some little pins as hard as possible. I could be wrong but I could swear that I see the pins shake a little when I step up to the line.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a sudden urge to watch The Big Lebowski for some reason.

Copyright 2013 R. Anderson